Which Credit Cards Pay For Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?

By | May 17, 2016

Long security lines at U.S. airports is commonplace during the summer travel season and this year should be no different. TSA Pre✓ gives trusted travelers the benefit of shorter lines and expedited screening. There is an application fee, but I’ll show you how to sign up for free.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is encouraging travelers to sign up for TSA Pre✓ to help alleviate the delays:

This is predicted to be one of the busiest air travel summers the airline industry has seen in a very long time and with more people flying, lines are expected to grow at TSA checkpoints. Travelers who are enrolled in TSA Pre✓or one of the other “trusted traveler” programs such as Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS…receive the benefit of a shorter queue line and expedited screening.

That advice does come at a cost: the non-refundable application fee for TSA Pre✓ is $85, while Global Entry will set you back $100, and memberships in both programs are valid for five years. The good news is that some credit cards will reimburse the fee for either program in the form of a statement credit.

What is Global Entry and TSA Pre

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports. Membership in Global Entry includes TSA Pre✓ when travelling domestically.

Global Entry members can enter their membership number (PASS ID) in the “Known Traveler Number” field when booking reservations, or save it in their frequent flyer profile with the airline. The membership number enables TSA’s Secure Flight System to verify that they are a legitimate CBP Trusted Traveler and eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓.

TSA Pre✓ is an expedited security screening program for known and trusted travelers departing from airports within the United States. On dedicated TSA Pre✓ lines, there is no need to remove your shoes, belts, or light jackets. In addition, laptops and 3-1-1 liquids can remain packed in your carry on bags.

Which is Better?

Both programs require an application process, background check, and an in-person appointment to provide documentation and fingerprints.

Global Entry includes TSA Pre✓ so for many, that will be the preferred program. However, Global Entry requires that you have a valid passport and requires a more rigorous background check and interview.  Another drawback to Global Entry is the limited number of interview locations relative to enrollment centers for TSA Pre✓.

The application fee for Global Entry is $100. The application fee for TSA Pre✓ is $85. Once approved, membership in either program lasts 5 years.

Airlines that Currently Offer TSA Pre✓ as of 6/1/18

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France
  • Air Serbia
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Allegiant
  • American Airlines
  • Aruba Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Boutique Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cape Air
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Condor Airlines
  • Contour Aviation
  • Copa Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Dominican Wings
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • InterCaribbean Airways
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Key Lime Air
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Miami Air International
  • OneJet
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Porter Airlines
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Seaborne Airlines
  • Silver Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southern Airways Express
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Sunwing Airlines
  • Swift Air
  • Thomas Cook Airlines (Scan.)
  • Thomas Cook Airlines (UK)
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • WestJet
  • World Atlantic
  • Xtra Airways

Credit Cards that Cover the Cost

There are a few popular personal credit cards reimburse charges for either Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ applications as a benefit to their cardholders.

Chase United Explorer

Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)

Other card benefits include free first checked bag for you and one traveling companion on United flights purchased with this card, 25% statement credit on food/beverage/wi-fi purchases on board United flights, and 2 United Club passes annually.

Bank of America Premium Rewards

Annual fee: $95

Other card benefits include $100 Airline Incidental Statement Credit annually for qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services, and airline lounge fees – automatically applied to your card statement.

Platinum Card from American Express

Annual fee: $550

Other card benefits include a $200 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year, $200 in Uber credits annually, and complimentary access to over 1000 airport lounges, including The Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs,  Airspace and Priority Pass Select Lounges. You also can add up to 3 additional Platinum cardholders to your account for an additional $175 annual fee or additional Gold cardholders for no annual fee, and each will receive the Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ benefit.

Citi AAdvantage Executive

Annual fee: $450

Other card benefits include Admirals Club membership including access to more than 50 lounge locations worldwide. Up to two guests or immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age) may accompany the member. Complimentary Admirals Club® Lounge access for authorized users, but no additional Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ credits. First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight travel companions

Citi Prestige Card

Annual fee: $450

Other card benefits include a $250 Air Travel Credit each year that will automatically be applied to flight-related expenses charged to your card, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Enjoy complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select as well as a fourth night free hotel room benefit.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Annual fee: $450

Other card benefits include a $300 Travel Credit each calendar year that will automatically be applied to any purchases coded as travel charged to your card. Cardholders also enjoy complimentary access to hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass.

Ritz Carlton Rewards Card

Annual fee: $450

This card will only reimburse for Global Entry–not TSA Pre✓. The credit is in addition to the $300 annual travel credit which can also be used for baggage fees, seat upgrades, access to your preferred airport lounge and more. Other card benefits include complimentary membership in Priority Pass, entitling you to unlimited access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide, complimentary upgrades to The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level three times annually on paid stays of up to seven nights, $100 Visa Infinite discount on the total cost of between 2 and 5 qualifying round-trip, domestic coach airline tickets purchased on the same itinerary, and a $100 hotel credit toward dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of two nights or longer.

While some of these are obviously high cost cards with annual fees not waived the first year like many other cards, the benefits they provide are worth it for many frequent travelers.

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